diaper need awareness weekSeptember 25 to October 1, 2017

Archive for May, 2016

Inequality can cause rashes and urinary tract infections

Posted on: May 31, 2016 by admin

By Laura Clawson / DailyKos

A single diaper doesn’t cost much—you can get several for a dollar—but babies use a lot of them, amounting to more than $900 a year​. Which brings us back to inequality:

Nearly 30 percent of women have experienced a time when they couldn’t afford diapers for their children. That burden falls far heavier on the poor than on those who are better off. The people in the lowest quintile of income, making an average of just over $11,000 a year, spends nearly 14 percent of its income on diapers. The next quintile, those who make about $29,000 a year, still spend 5 percent of its income on them. Yet the richest only has to expend 1 percent of its income.

One study found that 30 percent of women can’t always afford to change their children’s diapers as often as they’d like. There are no good answers to that dilemma.

Mothers would take the diapers off, dump out the poop, and put the diapers back on. They would air-dry the diapers. They’d let their kids sit in wet diapers for longer than they should—a practice that can lead to UTIs and other infections. Other moms have reported potty training infants who are less than a year old—at least six months earlier than is recommended—in order to save money.

Because, of course, food stamps and WIC don’t cover diapers, and a Democratic bill to allow that hasn’t gone anywhere, because congressional Republicans. And, as President Obama recently noted, this doesn’t just hurt the babies:

Access to clean diapers isn’t just important for a child’s health and safety. Research has shown that mothers who are unable to afford diapers for their babies are more likely to suffer from maternal depression and mental health issues.

Samantha Bee recently delved into the issue, and the arguments against poor babies getting clean diapers:

One important point Bee raises is echoed by The Diaper Bank:

The vast majority of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, and require parents and caregivers to provide a steady supply of disposable diapers.

Most people living in poverty do not have affordable access to washing facilities. Furthermore, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons.

So your “get a job” talking point and your “use cloth diapers” talking point won’t go anywhere. You might also want to give some serious thought to your “I can get a year’s worth of diapers for a lot less than $900 by going to Costco/doing a ‘subscribe and save’ at Amazon” talking point, because, as the National Diaper Bank Network points out:

Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large “big box” store can significantly increase the monthly cost of diapers.

(And without a credit card and a steady supply of money, you can’t subscribe and save at Amazon.)

I’d love it if my kid would quit soiling diapers before I’ve even finished putting them on him, but I’d love it even more if 30 percent of American women didn’t have to decide how exactly to keep their kids in dirty diapers for longer than is healthy. Diaper banks, which distribute diapers to families that need them, are a wonderful and important thing in the system we currently have. But the system needs changing so that diaper banks aren’t needed.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.

NDBN Goes to Washington

Posted on: May 19, 2016 by admin

screenshot-www.usnews.com 2016-05-13 13-54-12

The National Diaper Bank Network’s (NDBN) inaugural Lobbying Day activities were a huge success as diaper bank leaders from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C., May 11 – 12. 

We are thrilled to share an excerpt from a U.S. News and World Report article that posted last night. 

“…The National Diaper Bank Network is lobbying Washington about the issue this week, pushing for the passage of the Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act. The bill would provide grants to states that create programs to cover diapers. Federal funds from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, do not currently go toward this purpose…”

The full article is available here

Personal visits to Congressional offices were made by representatives from the following diaper banks: The Diaper Bank, The Rebecca Foundation’s Cloth Diaper Closet, Children’s Diaper Bank, DC Diaper Bank, PDX Diaper Bank, Idaho Diaper Bank, Capital Diaper Bank, Diaper Bank of North Carolina, Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, Texas Diaper Bank, Baby Booties Diaper Bank, WestSide Baby, Inland NW Baby, Baby2Baby, GOOD+ Foundation, Bare Necessities, Inc., Project Concern International, and Treasure Coast Food Bank, as well as representatives of AWHONN and Healthy Mom&Baby.  

Already, six new cosponsors have been added to the bill, bringing the total to 49, and we expect more to join soon! 

A Mother’s Day Wish for Moms in Poverty

Posted on: May 5, 2016 by admin


The following column by National Diaper Bank Network Executive Director Joanne Goldblum originally appeared May 5, 2016 in the Impact What Works section of The Huffington Post.

For some mothers, there will be no flowers or brunches this Mother’s Day, because their families cannot afford gifts. These moms are rarely celebrated. But they should be.


Raising kids without enough money to meet their basic needs is like being an Olympic athlete deprived of oxygen. Under extreme stress, they’re doing something that’s already difficult under the best of conditions. Though many low-income moms deserve medals, they’re often judged harshly as they trudge across an uneven playing field.

Perhaps we more fortunate parents roll our eyes because she always says no when asked to work a bake sale or chaperone a school trip. We’re forgetting that she has an hourly wage job — as women disproportionately do — with no predictability in her schedule and no paid time off.

Perhaps she splurges on ice cream for her daughter’s birthday. Everyone in the checkout line feels entitled to pass judgment on the grocery choices of someone using Food Stamps — especially if she’s overweight, as most Americans are.

Instead of looking for failings in an individual mother, we should be looking at structures that keep so many mothers in poverty. Women and children make up 70 percent of America’s poor.

While 4 in 10 American families rely on mothers as the sole or primary breadwinner in the family, women still do not have a fair chance to earn a living wage in the United States. Women are over-represented in low-wage jobs and, even when they do skilled work, are still paid less than their male counterparts. American women earn 79 cents for every dollar that male workers do. On top of that, they shoulder more elder and child care responsibilities in a nation that doesn’t have adequate systems to support either.

In decades of serving people in poverty, I found that that most work, though in low-wage jobs that often don’t offer full-time positions or benefits. They are essential jobs that we’ve collectively decided need not be well compensated: home health aides, child care providers, cleaners. Research by the Economic Policy Institute found that among poor adults who were eligible to work, 63 percent were employed. Keep in mind that the study was done when 3.3 million Americans were unemployed and actively seeking a job. Of those working poor, almost 20 percent were in part-time jobs.

It isn’t that poor moms and dads aren’t willing to work — it’s that the economy offers them so few opportunities to prosper from hard work and that safety net programs are inadequate to supplement low wages or provide for those who cannot work. Safety net programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families are available to fewer families as states put up more barriers to applicants. The purchasing power of these benefits has fallen more than 20 percent in the past decade. Until we remedy these problems, there will be unhappy Mother’s Days for too many families. While we do that important work, we should also be treating these mothers with the respect that they deserve. On Mother’s Day, I’d like recognize all the moms struggling to make ends meet:

Thank you for going without lunch yourself most days so that you have the money to buy diapers.

Thank you for all those evenings that you come home from work exhausted and then go straight to the kitchen to make dinner, because even the occasional take-out night is a luxury you can’t afford.

Thank you for driving your kids to a safer neighborhood to trick-or-treat, even though you knew people kept peering out of their big, beautiful houses at your old clunker.

Thank you for taking two buses in the rain so that you could pick up library books for your children.

Thank you for those Christmas mornings that you couldn’t spend with your family, because nursing home workers cannot have holidays off.

There is so much that you do to make life better for your children. You are swimming against a tide of unfair policy that pushes you back. But you are still swimming. You’re amazing. You deserve roses, chocolates, breakfast in bed. Most of all, you deserve a fair chance to earn a living wage and real help when that’s not possible.